Hitting A Milestone
by Valerie Nusbaum
Randy celebrated a big birthday last week. I won’t tell you how many candles were on his cake, but suffice it to say, he really is the “old” man who lives on the corner now. I’m allowed to say that he’s old because I’m older, but that’s neither here nor there. I’m often told that we both look younger than we are. Sure, that mostly comes from people who like us, but it’s nice to hear anyway.
Since said birthday was a milestone, I wanted to do something special for Randy. A party was out of the question because my hubby claims that he hates being the center of attention.
I don’t buy that excuse, but given the other things that are going on with us, I did agree that a party might be the straw that would break the camel’s (or my) back.
But, what to do? I reached out to friends and family and reminded them that Randy’s big day was just weeks away. A lot of people promised to send a card, make phone calls and send texts, and some of them followed through. Randy really enjoyed fetching our mail during his birthday week because there were lots of brightly colored envelopes bearing his name.
We started out on the eating train on the Saturday before the big day. Randy and I grabbed lunch at Moe’s in Frederick. We enjoy Mexican food, or what substitutes for it at a fast-food restaurant. We also ventured across the street to Crumbl Cookies. It smelled delicious, the line was 30-people deep, but who in their right mind would pay $4.59 for one chocolate chip cookie? Apparently, Randy would—twice.
I asked Randy what food he wanted for his birthday dinner. He requested pasta. He also demanded cake. Chocolate cake with white buttercream icing. Did I mention that Randy took off from work for the entire week? He planned to do a lot of eating, I guess.
Mom and I talked it over and decided to take Randy to lunch on Monday of his special week. We went to Los Amigos. Yes, Mexican food again, but I can’t complain. There were margaritas, too. My mother had a doctor’s appointment after lunch. She was a little wobbly but none the worse for wear, and her ENT doctor seemed to find the whole thing amusing.
Our friend, Gail, suggested that Randy and I meet her and her husband, John, for lunch on Tuesday at Modern Asia restaurant in Frederick. I was thinking that we could do different international-themed meals all week long. Unfortunately, when Randy and I arrived at Modern Asia, we discovered that the restaurant is closed on Tuesdays. I called Gail who was on her way, and she suggested Casa Rico instead. I know. Mexican, again. That’s okay, though, because Randy and I picked up Chinese takeout for dinner that night. After lunch on Tuesday, we had to go to Sam’s Club to pick up the birthday cake. I wasn’t feeling all that great (too many refried beans, maybe?), so poor Randy picked up his own cake. That thing weighed 20 pounds. Yes, he cut it as soon as we got home, and it was totally gone by the following Sunday.
Wednesday was Randy’s actual birthday, and the phone calls started early. There was a family breakfast and singing. Mom and I had made some truly awful birthday cake cookie balls from a boxed kit, but Randy ate those, too. Randy heard from family and friends far and wide, including his dentist and our bank. Randy’s boss called, too, ostensibly to extend good wishes, but he also asked Randy to work more hours and take on more projects. There were lots of gifts and gift cards—a real abundance of riches. I personally think it’s shameful how much attention was paid to one man.
Mom spent a lot of time working on her gifts. One of them was a big plastic egg filled with candy and slips of paper. On each piece of paper, Mom had written one thing she likes about Randy or one trait of his that she admires. Her intention had been to write one thing for every year Randy has been around, but Mom ran out of steam after 20 things, so she lumped the rest into one thing by saying that he’s the best son-in-law in the world. Never mind that she called him lackadaisical. Look it up. It’s not a compliment.
At the breakfast, which started at 8:00 a.m. (we’re old, remember?), the conversation went something like this:
“I forgot my teeth.”
“Huh? What did you say?”
“Would you pass me my pills?”
We ended up eating an American salad from Chick-fil-A for the birthday lunch, and I have no idea what was for dinner that night. I was in a food coma by that time.
On Thursday night, we had dinner with the Joneses, and Randy finally had his pasta. We dined at Fratelli’s in Middletown. There were more gifts (age-appropriate), balloons, and we celebrated Wayne’s birthday as well as Randy’s with even more cake—limoncello cake, to be exact.
There was still more celebrating on Friday. I can’t tell you what Steve Fulmer gave Randy for his gift, but I can say that we’re both enjoying them.
I hope Randy had a great birthday this year. He certainly deserves it. My birthday is in August, and after the way I wore myself out trying to make things nice for my hubby, I can hardly wait to see what he does for me.